Fresh Paint Gallery, 1020 Prospect St., La Jolla , opened in January with work by local artists Patrick Brown, Billy Hawkins and Weston Riffle and a special focus showcasing emerging talent.
For owner Deborah Williams, it's the realization of a dream that started in college.
"I began working in art galleries by framing and hanging exhibits and I just loved it," she told La Jolla Light. "Then, while we were living in Mumbai, India for 11 years through my husband's job, I started collecting work by emerging Indian artists. Collecting led to curating. I discovered I had a knack for picking up-and-coming artists. When we moved to La Jolla, with my kids in high school and college, I knew it was the right time to open my own gallery. It's very rewarding to introduce others to the pleasure of discovering a new favorite artist, and of getting in on collecting their work before everyone else discovers them! That's what motivates me."
When choosing which artists to feature, Williams said she looks for those who are consistently producing quality work and who have developed a distinct and original voice. "They need to be doing something different from what's out there," she explained. "Then, in general, I want to see art that feels necessary — that even has a sense of urgency to it. And I want work that requires something from the viewer. Obvious art is boring. As a viewer, I want to be challenged or intrigued or surprised. I find art that requires the viewer to engage his or her intellect is usually art with staying power. It's a good investment. Art that is simply decorative can go out of fashion."
Even though there are many galleries already in La Jolla, Williams said she wasn't daunted by the competition, but rather, encouraged by it: "I chose to open here, partly to be close to home, but also because The Village has a great vibe, dependable foot traffic and a sophisticated clientele with an interest in art and enough disposable income to be able to afford it. Also, there was a niche here I saw that I could fill."
Her particular niche is showing contemporary art that's "edgy but relatively affordable," which she believes sets her apart from other galleries, and that she's hoping to appeal to a younger clientele. "I find young people are interested in art if it feels relevant to them," she explained. "It needs to have something to say about their experience of the world. Also, of course, young people have less disposable income than older folks, so the art needs to be affordable."
Fresh Paint Gallery changes its exhibits every eight weeks. A show of abstract work by San Diego mixed-media artist Renee Bareno just closed. The current show features a collection of abstract expressionist paintings by Indian artist Gurdeep Singh. "He's one of the most exciting young painters in India," Williams insists, "and I am thrilled to be able to introduce his energetic and joyful work to San Diego art lovers." The Singh exhibit will run until June 30.
Williams said she also has plans to sell art online by the end of the year as a way to reach a broader audience. "I feel strongly that it's important to see works in person, as there is much a camera can't capture. However, I also recognize that one has to sell online these days in order to be competitive, especially with younger people who get so much of their information online," she said.
Fresh Paint Gallery is at 1020-B Prospect St., La Jolla. To receive information on upcoming exhibits, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit freshpaintgallery.com
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